Why I’m Glad Chris Herrod Didn’t Win The Primary to Fill the Congressional Seat Former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R – Utah) is Vacating
By Ken K. Gourdin
Warning For Those of Tender Eyes, Tender Ears, and Tender Years – Here be strong language. I don’t mince words here.
A Utah Highway Patrol Trooper stopped former Utah legislator and erstwhile candidate to replace former Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R – Utah) in the United States House Chris Herrod for travelling 79 MPH in a 70 MPH zone. Herrod tells the Trooper, “I’m a former state legislator who was honored, and I’m pleased to stand on my record.” (As though, somehow, that’s supposed to mean anything in the context of a traffic stop?)
I was honored by my eighth-grade class for completing the year successfully even though I underwent two major surgical operations within a span of three weeks and spent much of the year recuperating, too. I’m quite proud of that, but it’s not the first thing that springs to my mind as something I should mention as a possible mitigating or exculpating factor for my conduct when I’m stopped by law enforcement.
Yes, according to the Law Enforcement Code of Ethics, officers are supposed to enforce the law “without fear or favor, malice or ill-will.” At the same time, though, they’re given an enormous amount of discretion, as well as wide latitude in its use. If I were a law enforcement officer, actually, I would be less inclined to cite someone if he were to admit wrongdoing readily than I would be to cite someone whose first instinct is to try to argue with me or to throw his (supposed) weight around.
As anyone who knows me well—let alone anyone who has followed this blog for more than five minutes—knows, I am a strong supporter of law enforcement (though I have both praised and criticized law enforcement, in print and under my own byline, depending on what I felt was warranted).
Chris Herrod might have been ideal to replace Jason Chaffetz. Who knew for sure? But anyone who exhibits disrespect for those in uniform, and for courts, for the law, and for legal processes that Chris Herrod has—no matter how many times he assures us of his regret for this allegedly-“aberrant” (my word) behavior—should face serious questions about his fitness to legislate, and he’s not getting my vote.
The Salt Lake Tribune has analysis of the win by columnist Robert Gehrke of one of Mr. Herrod’s opponents, former Provo, Utah Mayor John Curtis, under the headline, “Why we can all celebrate John Curtis’s win in the 3rd District Republican Primary,” here (last accessed August 16, 2017):
I responded to the question posed in the headline thus (Reader Advisory: Here Be The Strong Language): “Because Mr. ‘Don’t-you-know-who-I-am-you-little-pissant-peon-UHP-trooper’ and Mr. ‘I-mean-no-disrespect-to-the-trooper-or-to-the-court-but-this-is-a-joke’ didn’t win. And we should all thank God for that.”
Salt Lake City’s Deseret News recently ran an op-ed penned by Chris Herrod’s daddy (Good grief, DesNews! You mean to tell me that support for the younger Herrod was so thin that you couldn’t at least have gotten some party hack to write the op-ed?). I responded to the elder Mr. Herrod’s op-ed thus:
Thank you for your service to our nation, Sir, and I can completely understand why you support (or by now, at least as regards this election, supported) your son. However, I learned everything I needed to know about whether or not I should support your son when he was stopped and cited by the Utah Highway Patrol for travelling 79 MPH in a 70 MPH zone.
Your son seems unclear on the concept that laws are for everyone, Sir, and that no one, no matter his position or station in life, is exempt. I haven’t agreed with or been pleased by every contact I’ve ever had with law enforcement, either, but I’ve always been smart enough to pick my battles. I have both praised and criticized law enforcement depending on what was warranted, in print under my own byline. I’ve always responded to being stopped with the appropriate string of “Yes Sirs/Ma’ams,” and “No Sirs/Ma’ams.” And even if his conduct toward the Trooper somehow were acceptable, I’ve never mocked the court, the judge, or the process by saying, “This is a joke,” in open court. And even as the son of a career law enforcement officer, I never sought special treatment.
-Ken K. Gourdin